High Court Opts for Incremental Approach to LGBT Issues
The 2017-2018 term’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission left many advocates for LGBT rights with mixed emotions: relief that the U.S. Supreme Court avoided a broad free speech ruling that would have been tantamount to a license to discriminate; concern that the court deemed it a close case; and uncertainty about the future of LGBT rights. The retirement of long-time LGBT rights ally Justice Anthony Kennedy soon thereafter led some to fear for the worst.
Yet, for all the consequential decisions of the 2018-2019 Supreme Court term — ranging from census questions to vulgar trademarks and gerrymandering — the court charted a rather restrained course on LGBT issues. To be sure, the forecast remains worrisome and challenging issues remain. But the court as a whole has not signaled hostility to the hard-earned progress of recent years, opting instead for an incremental approach.
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